Given the cultural stranglehold Christmas has on public consciousness, it makes sense that Christmas movies would be a tremendous market. Despite the massive amount of Christmas movies made each year, finding the truly special gems can be hard to come by. Fortunately, Hulu's slate of holiday films is one of the best available this year. Horror films, musicals, and adorable animals are all available at the ready and waiting for your festive viewing pleasure
Anna and the Apocalypse
If you’ve ever watched a zombie movie and thought “this would be better with musical numbers and Christmas decorations,” then Anna and the Apocalypse is the flick for you. This British zombie comedy feels like a love letter to Romero films and Shaun of the Dead but rocking pop sensibilities that puts Glee to shame. Everything about the film drips with fun and it isn’t afraid to get ultra-gory when necessary. This one is definitely worth adding to your Christmas horror rotation this holiday season.
A Christmas Movie Christmas
The textbook romantic comedy style “Christmas movie” feels like it has become beyond parody at this point, but that’s exactly what A Christmas Movie Christmas is trying to do. The ultra-meta film is about Eve, an obsessed Christmas movie fan with dreams of a movie-perfect love story and her cynical sister Lacy who finds Christmas movies predictable and cheesy. After the two make wishes to Santa Claus, they wake up in a place called Christmas Town and realize they’re living in a Christmas movie, and they’re both the leading ladies. It’s a cute film unafraid of poking fun at Christmas movie conventions, but also leans ridiculously hard into those same tropes to show why people love these films in the first place.
Eve (Elisa Donovan), is a wildly successful advertising executive but feels discontent with her love life. After making a Christmas wish that magically comes true, she is transported back in time to the moment when she walked away from her loving family and her fiancé Scott (Sebastian Spence). This is one of the films that put the “high-powered woman gives it all up to marry hometown sweetheart” Christmas movie tropes on the map, and has become an all-time favorite for fans of the genre.
Directed by Christmas romcom royalty, Melissa Joan Hart, Mario Lopez stars as a single father working as a school principal who finds romance with a musician (Excision’s AnnaLynne McCord) when his daughter and sister play matchmakers during the holidays. It’s not often that a man gets the chance to be the lead in a Christmas, and the fact AnnaLynne McCord--known for edgier roles--is the romantic lead in a Christmas romcom is all the more reason to give this one a watch.
Clea DuVall’s lesbian Christmas movie starring Mackenzie Davis and Kristen Stewart just about broke LGBTQ+ twitter with the discourse that followed in the wake of its release. Happiest Season is not the surface-level cheesy Christmas love story that so many people wanted it to be, but instead a nuanced albeit sometimes difficult look at how gay couples’ lived experiences aren’t “just like everyone else.” It’s a monumentally important film in regard to queer representation in Christmas cinema, and to quote What To Watch’s own Leigh Monson, “Happiest Season is a deeply heartfelt film that earns its spot as a holiday staple.”
Have you seen Mannequin? Have you seen A Mom for Christmas? Good. We’re on the right track. Holly is an advertising executive feeling a bit down that she’s going to be spending yet another Christmas alone. After she smacks her head outside of the storefront, one of the mannequins in the store window comes to life in the form of the ultra-perfect Beau. Now, Holly seems to have found her “perfect man,” but at what cost? Will she truly find happiness with this mannequin, or will this mannequin just serve as a MacGuffin to teach her to appreciate what she already has? Your guess is probably the correct one.
Puppies Crash Christmas
Okay, we’re cheating a little bit by putting this on here, but it’s the best piece of Christmas entertainment offered on Hulu and it’s an exclusive to the streaming service. Less of a movie and more of an adorably cute yule log alternative, Puppies Crash Christmas is a film where a pack of adoptable puppies are let loose in a living room meticulously decorated for Christmas and are allowed to tear the place apart. They rip open presents, knock over bowls of milk, tear down full Christmas feasts, pull down stockings, and absolutely destroy gingerbread houses. There are pop culture references scattered throughout the film (like the stockings being addressed to all of the Golden Girls) but you can’t help but cheer for these rambunctious pups. It’s a cute movie to throw on in the background, or if you’re really invested, a great way for some playful family gambling by betting on which dogs will destroy which items.
Naughty & Nice
Tilky Jones plays Pepper (no, seriously) is a cynical and cocky L.A. radio host who takes it too far and upsets an advertiser with his on-air antics and is shipped off to a small town in Colorado as punishment. Upon arrival, he is assigned to co-host a love doctor style advice show hosted by Sandra Love (Haylie Duff). As to be expected by the title and the “opposites attract” premise of the film, the two are constantly bickering on air-which becomes the most popular show in town. You can predict the ending from a mile away, as with most holiday romcoms, but this one is a fun journey getting to the destination with some excellent humor throughout.
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
Without any exaggeration, Rare Exports is one of the best Christmas horror movies of all time. In this Finnish film exposing the truth about Santa Claus, a small boy named Pietari (Onni Tommila) and his friend Juuso (Ilmari Järvenpää) accidentally discover the tomb of St. Nick, but he’s a vengeful monster and nothing like the holly jolly depiction they’ve always known. Pietari’s father inadvertently captures a feral old man in a wolf trap, who very well may be the missing link as to why reindeer are being killed, children are disappearing, and just what the hell those kids found in the tomb.
Loretta Devine, Idris Elba, Columbus Short, and Regina King all star in this ensemble holiday film about the first family reunion for a family in four years. Each member of the family is struggling with something in their life, which some family members may know about, and others may be completely left in the dark. It’s a really wonderful film about coming together as a family regardless of stressors in your life, and loving one another unconditionally.
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